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Where there is life, there is hope

September 29, 2008

Three-year-old boy battles Leukemia

By Jen Bakken
Staff Writer

Delano, MN – Trains, cars, trucks, or planes – things with wheels and things that go are what most young boys love, and three-year-old Will Pogue is no exception.

With beautiful eyes and a contagious smile, Will is undeniably an adorable little guy. Those who know him admit he is strong-willed as any typical preschooler can be, but Will is far from average.

In fact, one could say that he is exceptional and an inspiration. While he endures more medical procedures than any child should ever have to, he proves that he is a fighter.

The battle he is up against brings him, his family, and friends down a difficult road. As they travel through his diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), they believe where there is life, there is hope.

“He has a huge amount of courage for such a small child, and bravery that puts most adults to shame,” said Dana Mueller of Delano. “He definitely lives up to his name, he has an enormous amount of ‘Will.’”

ALL is a type of blood cancer. Originally, Will was diagnosed with a bone infection, but when this didn’t clear up with treatment, more specialized tests were performed and the formal diagnosis was made.

His current treatment plan involves very intense chemotherapy at a clinic once a week, home injections three times a week, spinal injections multiple times each month, not to mention appointments and medications.

Because Will also tested positive for Minimal Residual Disease (MRD), which only about 10 percent of leukemia patients get, he is getting more intensive treatments than other ALL patients – including about a year of initial chemo treatments and three years of maintenance chemo treatments.

MRD means Will has an abnormal chromosome caused by his Leukemia. So far, doctors have been unable to get the Leukemia to show any signs of remission.

You may remember a former business in Delano called The Bead Cellar, which was owned by Jamie Pogue (Rome), Will’s mother, and a 1996 graduate of Delano High School.

Jamie and her husband, Wes Pogue, moved from Delano to Arizona with Will and his older sister Athena. Wes opened WIT Cycles, a dealership selling used motorcycles, ATVs, and dirt bikes. Jamie sells Southern Living from their home, which is a line of home decor and kitchen items.

Though the town they live in is called Carefree – their lives have been far from carefree.

How does a daddy explain to his three-year-old son why his hair is falling out, why is body aches, or why he’s so tired?

How does a mommy assure her precious boy that, while the countless shots and medications may hurt or make him sick, they will hopefully make him better?

Just the mere thought could bring any parent to tears, and the Pogues have shed many, but they are grateful for the prayers, well wishes, and help offered by family and friends.

Though they do have some support in Arizona, their family and friends back home in Delano have rallied together and planned a benefit to help with medical costs Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Delano American Legion.

“With their insurance, everything is covered, but only to a certain extent. So, medicines that cost $700, that he takes daily, cost them around $200 per week,” Mueller said. “He is on up to five different ones on any given week. They have an 80/20 plan, so a 10-day hospital stay costs them thousands. He has had two already.”

If Will is given the okay from his doctors to travel, the whole family plans on returning to Delano and attending the benefit.

“We are so grateful for the time and effort that has been put into this benefit for Will,” said Jamie Pogue. “We have faith and perseverance, and that, along with this support, is what drives us to keep going everyday through this draining battle with a disease that no child should ever have to endure.”

For more information regarding the Will Pogue benefit, a web site has been established at www.willpoguebenefit.com.

There is also a caring bridge site to help family and friends keep up- to-date on Will’s daily progress, visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/willpogue.

Will Pogue Benefit

Delano American Legion

200 Babcock Boulevard

Saturday, Nov. 8

• 5 to 8 p.m. Dinner (sloppy joes for adults and hot dogs for children) $10 for adults and $5 for children

• 7 to 8 p.m. Live auction

• 5 to 9 p.m. Silent auction

• 8 p.m. to midnight the band Red Dot Garage will be performing. For more information about them, visit www.reddotgarage.com

• Drawings will be at 10 p.m.

• Raffle ticket drawing (cash prizes). Need not be present to win – On sale now

• Door prize drawing (TV and Wii). Must purchase meal ticket and must be present to win.

For a full list of sponsors, auction items, individual donors, and more information, visit www.willpoguebenefit.com

T-Shirts for sale

$20 for adults and $10 for children. To place an order, contact, Dana Mueller at (763) 442-7212 or Kelly Gabrelcik at (612) 280-5373.

Financial donations

Donations are also being accepted.

Send to:

Will Pogue Benefit

State Bank of Delano

PO Box 530

Delano, MN 55328

Do you know more about this subject, or have a comment? E-mail: news@heraldjournal.com